Choose a topic that interests you.
You'll enjoy the research process more if you're interested in the topic. To find a topic of interest: look to class notes; current "hot topics" in the news; discussions with friends; topics you enjoy reading about. Brainstorm for five minutes and write down topics that come to mind. Remember, brainstorming is the first stage and you aren't locking in a topic right now—so keep an open mind and explore.
Make a list of key words and terms related to your topic. Write it all down. You can refine the list later.
Tools to brainstorm topic ideas:
Find background information.
Use your textbook, class notes, Wikipedia, and/or a broad Google search to find information about the events, places, people and jargon associated with your topic. Capture the information you find.
Use Credo Reference for solid background information on your topic
Develop your research question.
Write down what you know and what you don't know, but want to understand about your topic. Using that information, develop questions that you want to answer.
Use those questions and the background information you gathered to refine your search terms. You can be more specific with your terms to narrow your search results or broad to get more results.
Create your thesis statement to guide your search. A thesis is typically one sentence that states your purpose. Thesis statements are arguable, specific, detailed, and meaningful.